Asia and Africa have previously been classified as areas of high endemicity for hepatitis B virus (HBV), but in some countries highly effective vaccination programmes have shifted this pattern towards intermediate or low endemicity. Thus, China is now the only country in Asia where HBV endemicity is high. Countries with intermediate endemicity include India, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand, and those with low endemicity include Japan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. Most countries in Africa have high HBV endemicity, with the exceptions of Tunisia and Morocco, which have intermediate endemicity. Zambia has borderline intermediate/high endemicity. In the Middle East, Bahrain, Iran, Israel and Kuwait are areas of low endemicity, Cyprus, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates have intermediate endemicity, and Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Palestine, Yemen and Saudi Arabia have high endemicity. All of these Middle East countries reach a large proportion of their population with hepatitis B vaccination, which is reducing the infection rate, particularly in Saudi Arabia. The vaccination programme in Taiwan has also greatly reduced the HBV infection rate. Future vaccination programmes must take into account the mode of transmission of HBV, the healthcare infrastructure to deliver vaccination, and the socioeconomic and political factors in each individual country, to determine the most cost-effective way of infection control.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.